Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

Expanding our Knowledge of the Universe

Proudly contributing to the Skynet Robotic Telescope Network

The University of Calgary's Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO) is much more than a spot on a picturesque hill in the Foothills of the Rockies - it is a place where Teaching and Research connects with Public Education and Community Engagement.  Where else can school children, teachers, community groups, and anyone else with a curiosity for STEM become immersed in an astronomical research facility and engage with astrophysicists-in-training and seasoned scientists?  This is our mission, and it happens both under the stars and under the Sun.

The RAO is a working science facility and we are only open to the public during programs or events.

Please see our Public Events page for information on upcoming events.


Conserving the Wilderness of Night Sky in Alberta

The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory is part of global efforts to protect dark skies. We encourage you to learn more about research, science education, and dark skies advocacy in southern Alberta.




As an astronomy resource for school children, teachers and community groups. The RAO strives to serve the community as a resource to science educators and as a catalyst for science education in Alberta.



As a venue for the public to connect with the universe through our astrophysical resources and advocacy for dark skies in Southern Alberta.



One of Canada's best-equipped astronomical teaching facilities, providing university students with the opportunity to use research-grade telescopes, an integral part of the undergraduate astronomy curriculum.

Two students using a telescope.

Where to find us

Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

210 Avenue W, Hwy 22 S
Foothills No. 31, AB T0L 1W0

(403) 931-2366

GPS coordinates  
Lat 50.868039 deg N,  Long 114.291142 deg W

Directions and Current Weather

The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO) is located near Priddis, Alberta, about 30 kilometres southwest of the Calgary city centre. It is less than an hour drive from the University of Calgary main campus.

  • Take Macleod Trail south.
  • Go west on Highway 22X, towards the mountains.
  • Continue past Spruce Meadows, past 37 Street, 69 Street and 83 Street to a major intersection where Highway 22X meets Highway 22 (this intersection is illuminated after dark).
  • Turn left toward Millarville (heading south).
  • About 1.2 kilometres south along Highway 22, look for the RAO sign on the west side of the highway. Then in 30 metres, look to the east side of the highway for the large RAO sign and gate. Drive through the gate and follow the gravel road up the hill to the parking area.

Current weather Conditions

Click image to open Google Maps.